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If They Think You’re Wrong, You Might As Well Be Wrong.

Your career has not gone your way. You have the last cubicle on the left and by all reasonable estimations that will be as good as it gets. You are lucky to have your job. Ask the 70-something-year-old greeter at Wal-Mart.

You spent years arriving early and staying late, you volunteered for tougher jobs in crappier places, you sacrificed family time to make the boss look good, you moved around the country saying goodbye to wonderful friends and neighbors, you watched others take credit for your work, you mentored and coached and listened, and you might get a plaque instead of the genuine recognition you believe you earned.

Well, you did get paid. Don’t bother complaining out loud. No one feels sorry for you.

So now you mentally rail against the machine, demonstrate your own pseudo-protest in a form only you understand and appreciate, your boss starts avoiding you, and your dog doesn’t even wag its tail when you drag your sorry butt into the door.

If you are/were looking for fulfillment in employment, that ship has sailed. Now it’s about keeping what you have, without sacrificing your security or sanity or self-respect.

So give up. Be a better company guy. Don’t bad mouth decisions made, no matter how inane, narrow, myopic, or stupid. But never compromise your integrity or your word. Correct what you can. Report abuses. Do the Right Thing, but avoid burning down a pizzeria in the process. Don’t piss and moan about it.

Find humor in it all. Remember that the accountants and lawyers run any big enterprise. If it doesn’t make money or avoid litigation, the unpopular stand you take is a loser.

The late Ed Robey was a consultant for large organizations back in the day. He told young management people many things, but the most memorable maxim of his was:

“If they think you’re wrong, you might as well be wrong.”

It makes no sense banging your head against the wall. If everyone around you, from your peers to your boss to the C-level, thinks your idea is a non-starter, then let it go.

It ain’t worth the ulcer or the brainpower. You have a job to do and you definitely do not need others having the perception that you cannot or will not do what you were hired to do.

Those in the funnel for the one-in-a-million corner office give up all the time. You can’t get appointed to higher levels if you mock or disregard the appointers’ ideas or vision.

Even though your method or idea or vision works, is economical and ethically sound, if they think you’re wrong, you might as well be wrong.

So give up. But keep chopping wood. You don’t want the appointers looking for someone else who will be more grateful than you.

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